Explore you and your next career move with 10 easy questions
When you’re thinking about your next career move, or even reflecting on where you are today, these ten questions will get you thinking about who you are, where you are right now, and what you might want to try next in your career.
Better understanding yourself (your strengths, values, interests, work preferences and skill sets) and what makes you unique is one of the key elements in preparing to make your next career decision and articulate your value to future employers.
Spend time reflecting on these 10 questions, write down any notes and see if you can draw any themes between your answers. Asking someone else these questions can also be helpful to draw parallels to your life, or understand how your experience and you as an individual are unique.
Your answers to these questions may be useful when writing your job application documents such as your resume and cover letter or preparing answers to interview questions, particularly introductory type questions such as, ‘tell me about yourself’.
1. Why did I choose to study XXX at UTS? What three subjects have you enjoyed the most across your degree so far and why?
This will help you express your values, what motivates you, your interests and skill sets.
2. What makes you forget to eat and lose track of time when studying or at work?
What engages and energises you? This taps into your interests and your skill sets. This question gives you some hints as to what you might like to do more of in the future. It also gives you a good indication of what you may enjoy learning or practising, and your areas of strength.
3. What do I find difficult about my course and how did I overcome this difficulty?
You may want to set goals to improve or develop in this area, or it may indicate an area you may want to do less of in the future (if possible). It taps into areas of development for you, while helping you understand ways you like to problem-solve and show initiative. It can also convey many other skills and strengths such as adaptability and resilience.
4. What is working well in your life right now— what do you find fulfilling, meaningful, enjoyable, and important?
Taking a bigger picture view of your life, think about your lifestyle choices, hobbies, interests and work preferences, this question will spark reflection on what you value. It will show your interests and what you’d like to do more of in the future.
5. Who is someone you look up to? And why?
A role model is someone you admire and someone you aspire to be like. Maybe you have a work role model or someone from another realm of your life? What does that say about you? What qualities or behaviours in that role model would you like to emulate in your life?
6. What is important to you? What are your top most deeply held core values and beliefs?
If you find that question hard to answer, this more extreme scenario could help you think about values from another perspective: If you knew you were going to die exactly one year from today, what would you do, and how would you want to be remembered? This helps you tap into the values that form your guiding compass through life.
7. If you asked your family and friends to describe you in three words, what words would they use?
It is hard to think about yourself and your qualities, but much easier if it’s from another perspective. Words that come up will most likely describe your personal attributes, your character strengths, your values or your skill sets.
8. What are five moments in your life where you have felt really proud of yourself?
These don’t have to be big accomplishments. They could involves key accomplishments (like completing your final year of school), times you have been proud of yourself (like helping a friend find professional support for an ongoing issue) or specific moments you felt joy and happiness (like passing a subject you thought you were going to fail). The key is they are proud moments for you, in your eyes.
What do these five proud moments say about you? Can you see any skills, values, interests, personal qualities that are evident? Any themes coming through in your answers?
9. What am I curious to explore next in my career?
Think about the different areas you could try out such as industries, jobs, roles, work environments, organisations, sectors, study areas, and work arrangements (e.g. part-time, freelance). You might have a list of five or more things you would like to try out in the future.
Remember that each time you come to a transition in your career (such as graduation to the world of work) there is no one set way of doing things or career path you must take. Career paths aren’t linear, they are the opposite – more like a scribble or squiggle that goes in many directions.
It’s best to think about taking one small step at a time just to prototype or try something out to see how it goes – internships can be a great way to do this. Once you’re in and committed to that next step, you can re-evaluate what you like and don’t like about the experience (the job, industry, work environment etc.), and what you are curious to explore next.
10. How might I take one step towards exploring this next part of my career journey within the next week?
Give yourself one small goal to take away with you today. Whether that is having a conversation with someone in a certain role or industry, applying for an internship, updating your resume or creating a LinkedIn profile. Choose one realistic task, and take action!
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
Claudia enjoys collaborating with academics, industry professionals, colleagues and students to develop and facilitate tailored and engaging career development education. Empowering students to research, ideate and take action towards their next career move that aligns to who they are authentically is what drives Claudia every day in her work.